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LSU SPRING GAME 2023 DEEPER EXAMINATION

Updated: Apr 25, 2023



by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN

@LonnPhillips

Definitely check out our Spring game piece from yesterday, as this is part II in some way...and yes, that means we won't be covering the same ground traveled in part one.

If you expect us to talk about the QBs, the offense, defensive standouts on the surface level, among other glaring takeaways, then do yourself a favor and read the exhilarating piece from yesterday linked once again right here.

In this piece, we want to move on and further dissect some of the subtleties we witnessed throughout the game & upon repeated viewings:

First, we'll begin with LSU's starting lineups, which may have caused some fans to raise an eyebrow or two when seeing (for example) West Weeks starting at LB, among other changes. This experimentation & rotation was clearly because of injuries to Greg Penn III, Major Burns, Mekhi Wingo, Mason Taylor, Maason Smith & Mac Markway, though with most of those beat-up Tigers going the distance in the snap count department in 2022 (some in 2021 as well), it was a perfect time to give them an extended recovery period, while also finding out exactly what kind of roster Head Coach Brian Kelly has on tap in year two:



Formation personnel are listed left to right

FIRST TEAM OFFENSE

WR Brian Thomas Jr

WR (Slot) Kyren Lacy

TE Givanni Peterson

LT Will Campbell

LG Garrett Dellinger

C Marlon Martinez

QB Jayden Daniels

RB Noah Cain

RG Miles Frazier

RT Emery Jones

WR Malik Nabers


FIRST TEAM DEFENSE

DE Ovie Oghoufo

DT Paris Shand

DT Jacobian Guillory

DE Saivion Jones

OLB Omar Speights

MLB Harold Perkins

OLB West Weeks

S Greg Brooks Jr

S Sage Ryan

CB Zy Alexander

CB JK Johnson


Though JK Johnson was cooked by Malik Nabers & Jayden Daniels on the opening play, LSU's first team defense possess an endless stream of speed up front, with new transfer Ovie Oghoufo being a revelation yesterday, third year Tiger Saivion Jones looking to cement his place as a starter on the edge; we were sure both would start, but Paris Shand in at DT was a bit of a surprise, while West Weeks and the selection of cornerbacks could've been seen as shocks, too.

The swap of Burns & Brooks for a tandem of Ryan & Brooks was all due to injury, with Ryan also getting time at nickel.

Interestingly enough, though LT Welch, Javien Toviano, Jordan Allen, and Whit Weeks weren't among Matt House's first team defense, they all made a strong case for inclusion as major contributors this fall:

LSU's pass rush looks impressive, and that's with Perkins at middle linebacker and absences from Dashawn Womack, Maason Smith, Mekhi Wingo, and Jordan Jefferson.

Due to these DL injuries, we really were able to see just how deep and eclectic LSU's 2023 D-line are:

Ovie Oghoufo stood out as we mentioned in our first article, however he was far from the only one.

DE Saivion Jones rattled off a few pressures on Jayden Daniels and Garrett Nussmeier, Bradyn Swinson had a few moments harassing Nussmeier sideline to sideline, as well as a nice tackle for loss; another transfer DL, Jalen Lee, pulled off a nice tackle for loss with some dominant interior play.

Jacobian Guillory had a quiet day, but should still be there in the thick of LSU's D-line action, that is if he doesn't transfer.

Freshman Jaxon Howard grabbed a sack on the day, as well as a nice stuff in the backfield, appearing to look like a future All-SEC Freshman.

Second year Tiger Tygee Hill received plenty of reps, though big #95 also experienced a more reserved day.

Once LSU are able to field Maason Smith, Mekhi Wingo, Jordan Jefferson, and intriguing freshman Dashawn Womack, alongside the aforementioned D-linemen on roster, you can see the Tigers may very well boast the deepest and most talented defensive line unit in America.....and that transformation is happening only a 6 months after losing BJ Ojulari, Jaquelin Roy, and Ali Gaye to the NFL Draft.

Other standouts were Jordan Allen, making a nice tackle for loss with Jaxon Howard, previewing his pace to blitz around the edge and make plays in the backfield from secondary.

Javien Toviano may have surrendered a catch or two, but his first performance in Tiger Stadium in front of a crowd was impressive.

Forcing an end zone incompletion when tested on a deep ball while playing nickel and corner, maybe even some safety, Toviano was all over the field and played frequently (starting with the 2nd team).


Wearing #34, newcomer CB Ryan Robinson Jr also looked good, tracking down plays with quick reactions and a forced incompletion in coverage.

Elsewhere, special teams remains a major question mark, Polian or no Polian.

2022's starting kicker Damian Ramos was poor on the day, Nathan Dibert was as well, our return game was extremely cautious, only returns from Landon Ibieta & Javen Nicholas indicating any promise.

Punter Jay Bramblett remains the front runner for the Ray Guy Award, blasting punts deep into enemy territory time and time again.

Overall, LSU aren't out of the woods when it comes to special teams....not even close....not until we see a marked improvement in the fundamental, situational understanding.

And, if our kicking game is any indication of what's ahead, Coach Kelly and Coach Denbrock will go for it on 4th down far more often in 2023.


By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN

@LonnPhillips

©️ 2023 Uninterrupted Writings Inc



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Jacobian Guillory is a definite for the rotation. With Wingo and Smith being eased back in, there will be playing time for him. If he leaves now, it will be an indication there is too much competition for him. I hope that doesn’t happen. He has worked hard and paid his dues.

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Lonn Phillips Sullivan
Lonn Phillips Sullivan
Apr 24, 2023

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